Former WWE Star Says John Cena Encouraged Use Of Popular Move

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A former WWE superstar has recalled some friendly advice from John Cena regarding a signature move that became very popular.

Santino Marella was a very unique character whose last name was a tribute to Gorilla Monsoon since his last real name was Robert Marella. In his first match in WWE in 2007 (after spending about two years in OVW), Santino beat Umaga for the Intercontinental Title thanks to an assist from Bobby Lashley.

In the years that followed, Santino became one of the funniest characters in WWE history. At different points, he was aligned with beautiful women like Maria and Beth Phoenix while also forming an interesting tag team with Vladimir Kozlov.

During his WWE run, Santino Marella was a two-time Intercontinental Champion, United States Champion and Tag Team Champion with Kozlov. Plus, he holds the record for being the fastest elimination in Royal Rumble history in 2009. He wasn’t ready!

Another thing that fans will always remember about Santino is his “deadly” finishing move known as The Cobra. The move is a simple chop to the throat (or shoulder/face/whatever), but Santino did it in a comedic way by positioning it in a funny way and even had a “cobra sleeve” for it at one point.

For fans that have wondered how Santino brought The Cobra move to WWE, he explained it to Chris Van Vliet on YouTube recently.

“I was in Japan. So for most of 2004 I was living in Japan. And after the shows there, we all go to the bar restaurant every day. There was a gentleman named Carl, who was friends with my coach, Mr. Ishikawa. And he’s just sitting at the table and just showed me this thing where he transforms his arm and his little kind of wooden puppet type thing.

And I remember looking at Mr. Ishikawa like, I don’t get it. What is that? He goes it was a funny thing he does, you know. So he made me try it. The next time I saw him say, do you remember how to do it, you know, and that was it. Like that was it? That was the little funny thing between us.”

“I’m guessing about five years later, I believe it was Atlanta. And I was wrestling either Chavo or Carlito, I think it was Chavo. I go I am I try something during my comeback. So it’s like you know jab and clothesline or whatever punch and then next I stop and this transformation in my arm and I hit them they turned away into a schoolboy. And without seeing it on TV, the audience immediately laughed.”

That’s where John Cena came in as the 16-time World Champion who some people call the “greatest of all time” advised Santino to keep doing it.

“So Cena, I always stand beside Cena, you know. So he came back, I came back through the curtain. He’s like, ‘I would keep that if I were you, that was funny.’ And so I was doing it only on live events. And then one day I go to TV and Ricky Steamboat was my producer, and he’s like, I was wrestling Zack Ryder, he goes ‘You know, you’re going over with the Cobra. Vince wants to see the Cobra.’ [I respond] Vince knows about the Cobra? He goes yeah, ‘he reads the reports’ and I go okay, so then yeah, I did the Cobra.”

“The Cobra was crazy, like in three weeks. Really quickly, I would gesture for it. I would see in my peripheral vision like entire arena, like jumping up. I’m like really? Ok, they like it. I mean, I didn’t find it that spectacular, but they loved it. So and then I think they did it for like a year without the sleeve, and then we introduced the sleeve.”

Santino Marella worked for WWE on the main roster from 2007 to 2016. Currently, Santino works for Impact Wrestling as their authority figure after retiring from wrestling several years ago.